Not going to lie, my favorite sandwich might be a classic PBJ with creamy peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Nevertheless, Philadelphia has so many delis, delicatessens, and sandwich shops that I rarely have to open my cabinet and make my own.
Who would’ve known that something as simple as assembling ingredients in between two slices of bread could have so many combinations of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and spreads? From hearty Italian hoagies to savory Vietnamese subs, Philly has it all!
Best Sandwiches in Philadelphia
- Middle Child
- Liberty Kitchen
- Schlesinger’s Deli
- Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen
- Hershel’s East Side Deli
- Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop
- Poe’s Sandwich Joint
- John’s Roast Pork
- Antonio’s Deli
- Stockyard Sandwich Co.
- Porcos Porchetteria
- Ba Le Bakery
- Christie’s Deli
- Love and Honey’s Fried Chicken
248 S 11th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (267) 930-8344
Middle Child is almost as iconic in Philadelphia as the Liberty Bell. But it’s also ironic because unlike a middle child, you’ll never forget one of their sandwiches.
Their extra fluffy eggs have been coined “the best eggs in Philadelphia,” and I can definitely see why. Sandwiched between two thick slices of potato bread with cooper sharp and arugula, their breakfast sandwich is a greasy boy.
This is one of the few times you won’t mind waking up before 11:15 am on a weekend to snag yours before they stop serving breakfast. If you do oversleep, however, their lunch sandwiches are just as good, such as the “Surfer” (turkey, swiss, blueberry masala jam, and mayo on ciabatta) or the vegan “Phoagie” (eggplant, avocado, onion, cilantro, and pho sauce on a Sarcone’s roll).
1244 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 309-2241
Come over whenever (except Tuesdee when they’re closed) to Liberty Kitchen, a South Kensington and Fishtown deli, bakery, and grocery store. On top of their commissary and “pop-down” kitchen for aspiring chefs and bakers, they’re slinging some of the most hyped up hoagies in the city.
The “Mortabella” with mortadella, burrata, pistachio pesto, and arugula tossed in calabrian chili oil is a top seller, as well as “Veggie Jawn” and “Della Cassa.” If a hoagie isn’t enough for you or you’re just not feeling a sandwich, they also have some bomb mac and cheese and tomato pie.
But if that’s the case, then why are you reading this list?
1521 Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 735-7305
Schlesinger’s motto is “God, country, and corned beef.” And their corned beef definitely tastes like it’s sacred.
The breakfast all day is unbeatable, but Schlesinger’s real claim to fame is their first-named sandwiches. Unfortunately, there’s no Christina on the menu, but I love the “Arielle’s corned beef” and “Dawn’s fresh turkey” so much, I’d name them after myself.
If you’re really, really hungry, get the “Doris Reuben” with a side of Matzah ball soup and a humongous slice of strawberry shortcake. After that, you’ll be in a food coma for the rest of the day.
Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen
700 S 4th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 922-3274
This corner delicatessen has kept its 20’s charm with its vintage white tiles and antique sign, but it’s also adapted with the times, appearing in several movies and serving notable patrons, including former president Barack Obama.
Located on 4th street (duh) in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia, Famous Fourth Street is famous for smoking the pastrami and pickling the corned beef in their overstuffed sandwiches.
And when I say overstuffed, I mean stacked so tall that you can’t even get your mouth around half of it. Bring an army because you’re going to need it to finish any of their gargantuan portions.
Hershel’s East Side Deli
51 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 922-6220
This traditional Jewish cuisinere inside Reading Terminal Market has been called “the best Jewish deli outside of New York” by many locals. And while there are several delicatessens in Philly with a fighting chance at that title, this one is definitely a contender.
Their sandwiches are piled high and served on six types of bread: rye (regular, seeded, and marble), challah, pumpernickel, or wheat. Sadly, they close early, so stop in during your lunch break for a brisket or whitefish salad sandwich.
And don’t forget to add sauerkraut and Russian dressing or you’re doing it wrong.
Primo is one of the few chain restaurants that actually has some banging hoagies.
Not only do their sandwiches come on award-winning seeded rolls (the best kind of rolls, hands down). Not only do they have five kinds of Italian hoagies (Italian, mild Italian, Sharp Italian, Mild Sharp Italian, and the Old Italian). But they also have ten diablo sandwiches (the turkey diablo is my personal favorite).
Located all around Philadelphia, its suburbs, and the Jersey shore, Primo is always a solid choice, especially when you’re down the shore (I think they make them even better, but that might just be me.)
32 S 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (445) 544-8025
Huda just won Philadelphia Insider’s Best in Philly Award for best sandwiches, so it would be a crime if I didn’t include them on my list.
If you’ve ever had Mac Mart’s brisket mac with dijonnaise, that was from Huda next door, and that was probably my favorite flavor of all time. But aside from their mouth watering brisket and notorious short rib grilled cheese (with pepper-jack brie and apple mustard, might I add), they’re so highly esteemed because they serve all of their sandwiches on house made milk buns.
If you’ve never had milk bread, this is your sign to stop reading and try it right now, preferably from Huda.
Woodrow’s Sandwich Shop
630 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 470-3559
Regardless of whether or not you order your cheesesteak whiz wit (I usually do American wit), the Woodrow’s Whiz Wit is perfect just the way it is.
Served with shaved ribeye, cherry pepper mayo, caramelized onions, and truffle whiz, the restaurant highly recommends not getting any other type of cheese on their cheesesteak if you want the true Woodrow’s experience. Like in capital letters with an exclamation point at the end.
But why would you want any regular old cheese when they make their own truffle whiz, something you can’t get anywhere else in Philly? They also serve classics like roast pork and unique twists on classics like coffee BBQ brisket.
Poe’s Sandwich Joint
1710 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 454-2654
If you go to Temple University, Poe’s Sandwich Joint, located just a few blocks away from Main Campus, should be your newest go-to for a quick bite.
While their sandwiches aren’t as cheap as Wawa, they’re worth splurging a few extra bucks. Get their homestyle sandwiches like the Uncle Tony, a fancier rendition of a Philly cheesesteak, and the Skinny Joey, an Italian style pulled pork.
Or try one of their other eccentric sandwiches, like the “Gabbygool” and the “Sal Bonpensiero.” Want to know what they are/what they mean? Check out their website and watch “The Sopranos.”
John’s Roast Pork
14 Snyder Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
Phone: (215) 463-1951
John’s Roast Pork is a household name in Philadelphia. If you’ve ever watched a food critic review this James Beard award winner, you’ve probably seen John the owner, whose passion for providing quality ingredients is prevalent in his sandwiches.
John’s pretty much put provolone on the map. It’s bold to suggest sharp provolone over whiz or American, but it’s a risk that really pays off.
The hot roast pork is their specialty, but if you went to John’s Roast Pork and didn’t order one of their ultimate cheesesteaks, did you really go? Better yet, get both! Come hungry and come early because they usually sell out by mid-afternoon.
736 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 922-0000
Angelo’s Pizzeria in South Philly is infamous for being a pain in the a** to get a hold of. Seriously, there are pictures on Instagram of 250 unanswered calls before someone miraculously picks up the phone and lets you place your order.
Yes, they’re one of those old school Italian joints that are cash only and don’t believe in online ordering. Yes, you’ll be pulling your hair out wondering if this is even worth it. But I promise you, the hassle is worth it.
There’s a reason why Barstool ranked their cheesesteak as the best in Philadelphia (John’s Roast Pork was in second place, and Dalessandro’s was in third by a slim margin). While you’re at it, you should also order a pizza before they inevitably sell out, since they are a pizzeria after all.
1014 Federal St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 462-4622
Antonio’s Deli will make you never want a Wawa hoagie ever again. Whether you call it a hoagie or a sub, once you taste one of their jam packed sandwiches on a freshly baked Sarcone’s seeded roll, any argument will be squashed.
Despite telling yourself you’re going to “save half for later,” you’ll find yourself eating an entire crispy tomato sandwich without even realizing it. And good luck trying to resist buying Italian rainbow cookies or sfogliatella while waiting for your order.
When you think of the Italian Market, Antonio’s is what should come to mind. Simple, authentic, and just so dang good.
2113 E York St, Philadelphia, PA 19125
Phone: (215) 867-8881
Martha’s cozy neighborhood bar and homey outdoor patio is a refreshing change of scenery, especially since most of these sandwich shops are takeout only.
This Kensington-based “locally sourced and fermentation focused” restaurant has all sorts of “foodz” besides just sandwiches, like a pickle boat or XO noodz. But their logo is a hoagie, so naturally the sandwiches are their pride and joy.
Vegans can opt for the literally named “vegan” hoagie with fermented radish, marinated eggplant, lettuce, and giardiniera relish. Vegetarians can choose between the heirloom tomato or Martha mi (a tofu banh mi). And meat eaters can go for the classic Italian.
Stockyard Sandwich Co.
1541 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 977-9273
It’s semi-rare when a restaurant has a Philly muffin, a crossover between an English muffin and an everything bagel, on the menu. It’s very rare when a restaurant has scrapple on the menu. Stockyard Sandwich Co. has both.
And that’s just the breakfast menu. This farm-to-table sandwich shop is serving up burgers, banh mis and soon to be ciders in the Spring Garden neighborhood. They may be small, but they have a big personality.
Check their Instagram for daily specials, like grilled ham and cheese with apple and cherry mostarda, fried mac and cheese balls, and BBQ chicken cheesesteak with prov and whiz.
2204 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 545-2939
Porchetta, a savory, boneless pork roast, is still an untapped resource in Philadelphia, so Porcos Porchetteria is breaking new ground in Graduate Hospital/Point Breeze.
Despite the fact that they are a casual counter shop, Porcos does not sacrifice quality for speed. Surprise surprise, their three most popular sandwiches – the OG, the Philly, and the Spicy Porker – are all made with their herbed porchetta on house ciabatta.
The latter two are just variations of the former. If you like them enough, you can buy their porchetta by the pound, in addition to their desserts from Small Oven Pastry shop as a sweet complement to your salty meal.
600 Wendover St, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Phone: (215) 482-5407
If you heard the news that Dalessandro’s is now incorporating online ordering into their rotation, you were probably as ecstatic as I was. Welcome to the 21st century!
Finally, the days of waiting in line around the block at this Roxborough eatery are over, and so is the hunt for Philadelphia’s best cheesesteak. While Angelo’s and John’s Roast Pork are neck and neck, many loyal fans will swear by Dalessandro’s for their finely chopped steak, melted American cheese, and soft roll.
I’m not getting into the debate and choosing sides here for this article, but if we’re talking about the best cheesesteaks in Philly, that’s a different story…
Ba Le Bakery
606 Washington Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 389-4350
Of course I didn’t forget about Vietnamese hoagies, otherwise known as banh mis. Banh mis are one of my favorite sandwiches because they are a health(ier) alternative, traditionally topped with pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro, jalapenos, and cucumber.
Although I wouldn’t rave about Philly’s selection of banh mis, Ba Le Bakery is the best of the best. I recommend the Dac Biet (house special), Thit Nuong (grilled pork), or Chay (vegetarian) for a light yet filling (is that an oxymoron?) lunch or dinner.
You can also order some of their house-baked bread to make your own banh mis at home; just only order one (as “one” is really one pack of four loaves).
1822 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: (215) 563-0555
POV: It’s Saturday morning and you just woke up with a hangover from your Friday night shenanigans. You don’t have any food in your kitchen (or you’re too lazy to cook), so you browse online, stumble upon a tiny deli that you’ve never heard of, see good reviews, and decide to give it a try.
That’s the most common scenario with Christie’s Deli, but you will be pleasantly surprised by how unexpectedly good it is. The menu is huge and the portions are huge-er, but the best part is that most of their sandwiches are under $5, something unheard of in Philly anymore.
You know when the owner herself recommends the “Christie’s breakfast” and it has pork roll, fried egg, onion, garlic, hashbrown, and sriracha all on a croissant, you’re in for a treat.
Love and Honey’s Fried Chicken
1100 N Front St Ste 103, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Phone: (215) 789-7878
The inside of Love and Honey’s may be closed indefinitely, but luckily they are still open for takeout and delivery (*sighs breath of relief*).
Made with “lots of love and a little honey,” their fried chicken is some of the best in Philly, which is a double-edged sword because you may have to wait for up to 2 hours before receiving your order at a busy time.
The Nashville hot chicken sandwich is probably the closest I’ll be getting to Tennessee in a while. But for y’all who can’t take the heat, they also have the “OG” fried chicken sandwich or the Mc’Loven sandwich, which I don’t even think can be compared to McDonald’s.
How can I write a list of the best hoagies in Philly and leave out Wawa? They literally have a whole fest dedicated to hoagies.
Whether you’re going on a road trip and need a snack for the drive or you’re drunk at 2 am and have the late night munchies, Wawa is there for you 24 hours a day. It’s more like a convenience store that just happens to sell gas.
What to get: a turkey, Italian, or ham and cheese (add swiss, yellow mustard, and pickles to make it a Cuban). What not to get: a cheesesteak (sorry Wawa, but there’s much better places in the city), a cheese sandwich (why?), or tuna salad (ordering fish at a gas station is never a good idea).
In conclusion, Philadelphia has a whole lot more to offer than just cheesesteaks (but we are also the only city that does them right.) Whether you’re craving a fried chicken sandwich, a reuben, a turkey club, a grilled cheese…I forgot where I was going with this, but now I’m hungry.
Prefer bagel sandwiches? I purposefully excluded them from this list because they’re in a league of their own, so check out my best bagels article to see my picks!
Did I miss your favorite sammie in Philly? Let me know in the comments below.
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